AN abiding childhood memory of mine, of the Groyne at Shields, is of the huge buoys that used to lie off it.
I was always tempted to see if I could swim out to one. I would almost certainly have drowned, of course – what seemed so near was actually quite far, and surrounded by the river’s racing currents.
Apparently that style of buoy was also peculiar to the Tyne, I remember being told, though quite why, I don’t know.
But like a lot else to do with the safe navigation of the river and coast, they had to be maintained – though being mooring buoys, I’m not sure if that was a job that would have fallen to Trinity House.
Certainly the latter is responsible for maintaining some 500 navigation and associated buoys around the Uk coast to this day.
Either way, we return to the paintings of James Cleet, father and son, in the collection of South Shields Museum for this view of what’s described as the Trinity Buoy House on our side of the entrance to the river.
The date isn’t easy to read, but may be 1892. Interestingly, the picture is similar to another, Where The Pilots Land, which gives you an idea as to the location.